- Video Games
On July 2nd Google’s access to Twitter’s special firehose expired;
Sometime on the morning of July 3rd, Google Realtime Search mysteriously went offline and, assuming it was just another example of things breaking on a holiday weekend, most tech publications ignored it.
Well as it turns out the reason behind its disappearance was not so mysterious, on July 2nd Google’s access to Twitter’s special firehose expired and it pulled the feature in order to rethink its strategy. Bing, which had a similar deal with Twitter still has access to the firehose.
So what gives? While no one really has any details as to why the deal fell through, Google says that its disabled the project to incorporate Google+ results and Twitter says that it will continue to work with Google on other projects.
“Our vision is to have google.com/realtime include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.
Okay it’s not like Twitter will be pulled entirely from the service, Google can still crawl and organize publicly available tweets (each tweet is its own webpage). Google+, which bizarrely still does not have search, might eventually become a dominant enough service that users will want Realtime search that is free of Twitter noise. Google might have also treated the deal as a learning experience, like when Eric Schmidtsat on Apple’s board and then launched Android.
But can Google’s realtime search succeed without Twitter? I know that I for one will be using it a lot less unless the public tweet crawl is comprehensive enough to supplant a service like Topsy, or Twitter’s own meager search.
So is Twitter declaring independence from Google or is Google declaring independence from Twitter? I really don’t know and it might simply be a question of the right price, but I had to guess who had the upper hand in negotiations it would be the latter, with Google now suffering from a huge case of “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
Google is one of a trio of household names jockeying to take on Hulu. That is if the rumors are to be believed, and that the service is up for sale in the first place. None of which has been confirmed as yet.
News leaked on June 22 that Hulu was potentially up for sale, with its owners News Corp., Walt Disney, Comcast, and Providence Equity seeking a buyer to take on the relatively successful online video service.
At the time those always-fun ‘inside sources’ claimed that the process would begin in two weeks, with interested parties invited to express their interest in bidding in the meantime. That process now seems to have begun, and the companies rumored to be interested in acquiring Hulu include the biggest names possible.
The three major companies being talked about as ‘interested’ all have different reasons for being so. But all will want to score a victory over the others by nabbing Hulu before the others can.
Google could invigorate Hulu in the same way it did YouTube, plowing cash in and hoping to see a return from advertising in the future. Hulu already has an impressive base of advertising clients, which must make it an attractive acquisition target for Google.
Microsoft seems to be on something of an acquisition spree at present, using its vast pools of money to buy services which could be huge in the future. Microsoft could use view Hulu as an exclusive element to be added to its Xbox 360 console and the Xbox Live service.
Yahoo! has been seeking premium content for the last few months, and video could add to its new strategy of having strong editorial policies which help maintain the interests of readers (and viewers).
This still has to be filed under ‘Rumor’ for now, because without a direct announcement from Hulu or its partners, or one of the supposedly interested parties revealing that negotiations are taking place, we don’t actually know how true any of the news leaking out is.
This could all be conjecture underpinning an effort to raise the number of bidders and the price they’re willing to pay. I personally think Hulu will end up being sold, but to who and for how much is anyone’s guess.
Microsoft debuted Office 365 today, taking on Google Apps for Business. (TOBIAS SCHWARZ - REUTERS)Microsoft took a stride into the cloud Tuesday with the launch ofOffice 365, a cloud-based suite of applications set to take on Google’s Web apps. The product aimed at the business users that represent a huge part of Microsoft’s base, though it faces a few hurdles.
The suite includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Lync, as well as other services depending on which package you choose. All packages have collaboration tools and online and offline syncing. Documents can be accessed through a desktop or mobile browser, and you can instant message and video chat, though there’s no telephone integration.
Plans for professionals and small businesses cost $6 per user, per month. For larger companies, the company has plans ranging from $10 to $27 per user, per month.
On Monday, Shan Sinha, a product manager for the suite’s main competitor, Google Apps, panned the new product on the Google’s Enterprise blog. Sinha said that, compared to Google Apps, Office 365 is antiquated, closed and costly.
“Before you invest ten years in the past, we’d humbly encourage you to invest ten minutes in today by checking out why so many businesses have chosen Google Apps,” Sinha said.
In the post, Sinha criticized Office 365 for its tiered pricing — Google offers its professional Apps service for $5 per month — and said that it is too tied to the PC, pointing out Google Apps work on any operating system and require no software.
For many businesses concerned about storing all their files on the Web, however, the fact that Office 365 lets users work online and offline may be a major selling point. And Microsoft has taken pains to court those companies not quite ready to make the full leap into the cloud by making its Web apps just about identical to Office, down to the formatting and the user interface.
Microsoft is banking on that familiarity to coax its users into using its new service. By working with the programs already running in millions of offices worldwise — Outlook, Office, etc. — it can market Office 365 as a way to ease into cloud computing instead of jumping.
The journalism industry ships lemons every day. Our newsrooms have a massive quality control problem. According to the best counts we have, more than half of stories contain mistakes -- and only 3 percent of those errors are ever fixed.
Errors small and large litter the mediascape, and each uncorrected one undermines public trust in news organizations. In Pew's last survey in September 2009, only 29 percent of Americans believed that the press "get the facts right."
Yet the tools and techniques to fix this problem are known and simple. I've been working in this area for the last two years. Here's a distillation of what I've learned: three basic steps any online news organization can take today to tighten quality control, reduce errors and build public trust.
A piece without links is like a story without the names of its sources. Every link tells a reader, "I did my research. And you can double-check me."
The news isn't static, and online stories don't have to be, either. Every article or post can and should be improved after it's published. Stay accountable and transparent by providing a "history" of every version of each story (à la Wikipedia) that lets readers see what's changed.
The Internet is a powerfully efficient feedback mechanism. Yet many news organizations don't use it. Put a report-an-error button on every story: It tells readers you want to know when you've goofed. Then pay attention to what they tell you.
Why aren't these practices more widely adopted? Here are four reasons:
1. Workflow and tools
2. Denial and avoidance
3. Fear of readers
4. Where's the money?
These are serious obstacles. But journalists will never regain public trust unless we overcome them.
Ask journalists what sets them apart from everyone else sharing information online and we'll say: We care about accuracy. We correct our mistakes. In a changing media economy that's challenging the survival of our profession, we need to follow through on those avowals. Otherwise, we shouldn't be surprised when Pew's next biennial survey of public trust in the media shows even more dismal results.
Photo of lemons courtesy of flickr user CocteauBoy.